Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Falling for Donuts

Something that is pure fall is Apple Cider and Apple Cider Donuts.  I keep hearing about Apple Cider donuts being a fall treat - but I have never had one.  Not even at an apple orchard.  We are the "go get your apples and run type".  Actually it wasn't until last year that we even picked our own apples.  
While picking your own apples is satisfying, there is also something so fun about making your own donuts.   Watching them puff up in the oven, then dipping in glaze and some sugar and spice.  Once again I considered canceling our dinner plan for a baked good - but alas - these donuts?  Awesome for dessert!  Andy even heated up some apple cider with spices for a hot drink.  I would highly recommend this yummy treats.  No donut pan?  They'll work as muffins too.

Apple Cider Donuts
Ingredients
1½ c. cake flour (or 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour - remove 3 tablespoons of flour and replace with cornstarch - then sift 5 times)
½ c. granulated sugar
1½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. apple pie spice
½ tsp. salt
¼ c. apple cider
¼ c. buttermilk
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp apple cider
1 Tbsp. apple pie seasoning
½ c. granulated sugar

Instructions
Combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder, spice and salt. Whisk together to combine.
Add cider, buttermilk, syrup, oil and egg.
Mix wet and dry ingredients until smooth.
Put donut batter in a disposable piping bag and pipe into a greased donut pan. (Fill until ½ full)
Bake in a 425ยบ oven. Bake 4-6 minutes for the mini donuts, and 6-8 minutes for the regular sized donuts.
Let donuts cool for a few minutes and then remove them from the pan.
Combine powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp of cider. In a separate bowl combine ½ c. sugar and 1 Tbsp apple pie seasoning.
Dip warm donuts in cider glaze and then dip in the sugar and spice mixture.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Don't judge my messy floor...

Apple Pie Spice seems something silly to buy in the grocery store - doesn't it?  I mean really… it's just a few things tossed together - probably things you already have in your cabinet.  I needed Apple Pie Spice for some Apple Cider Donuts I was planning to make (see recipe next week).  I got out my trusted tiny canning jar and starting adding ingredients.  Thankfully I had them all, gave it a toss and a smell -- apple pie.  I even made Andy smell it.  He agreed, smelled like apple pie.  Will I use this mix in my apple pie?  Ha!  Probably not… but hey, need to add some flavor to some apple cider, I bet this would be amazing.  Even as a cinnamon roll filling - oh the possibilities of this fancy little mix.  Don't worry, I won't tell anyone it was so easy to put together.
  
Apple Pie Spice

¼ cup Ground Cinnamon
2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
½ tsp Ground All Spice
1 tsp Ground Ginger
½ tsp Ground Cardamom

Directions:

In a small jar add all ingredients. Close jar with lid and shake to combine. Add or decrease certain ingredients to suit your personal tastes.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Feeling Blessed with Shriveled Up Chicken

I hope you never get that call "honey - we've been in an accident".  I hope to never get that call again either.  Andy called me several weeks ago on a Friday night.  I had run to do the grocery shopping, he took Bronwyn with him to do a Home Depot and Lowes run.  Divide and conquer - so we thought.  The short story is someone pulled out in front of someone going the opposite direction, she tried to avoid that person and ended up crossing the center line and hitting my family head on.  Thankfully not one was injured, but they did take Miss B to the ER in an ambulance to get checked out.  Before any of this happened, I started the oven and threw some chicken in.  You see, I was planning to make this great soup recipe the next day and I needed roasted chicken.  I do enjoy multitasking… so I figured I'd roast the chicken as I put the groceries away and did other odds and ends.  Then the call came.  While I waited for the second call to find out what hospital to go to, I looked at my chicken through the window of the oven.  Well… it was starting to cook and turn white, but if I turned the oven off at this point it would be partially baked and mostly raw.  If I took it out quick and refrigerated it, what on earth might we die from growing in that mess.  So I left the oven on - attempted to use the timer function which I thought would turn it off (it didn't).  When we got home 2 hours later, the oven was still on.  That poor chicken looked like it had been ridden hard and put away wet.  SO wrinkly and hopelessly dry.  Well, my family was safe, so what if I ruined some chicken.  I tossed it in a container and into the fridge and went to bed.  Woke up the next day and gave the soup a shot.  I cut it up in as tiny pieces as I could and honestly?  You'd never know how dry and gross it really was!  This soup turned out amazing.  It was so good.  It was creamy but not super rich like most cream based soups are.  Enjoy this one - I'm pretty sure this recipe is not one I'll never make again without remembering that scary call but mostly being thankful for God watching my family that night.

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup 

1 tsp of olive oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion
2-3 carrots, diced
2-3 stalks of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5 cups of homemade chicken stock
1 tsp chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp dried basil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
1 cup cooked chicken breast, diced (more if you like)
1/2 cup long grain white rice
1/2 cup of frozen sweet yellow corn, thawed
2 tbsp corn starch
1 12 oz can evaporated milk

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery once hot. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and stir constantly for 60 seconds. Add the chicken stock, diced chicken, rice, bouillon, basil, sea salt, black pepper and bay leaf. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Turn the soup up until it boils. Mix the corn starch and evaporated milk thoroughly in a bowl. Add the milk mixture to the boiling soup and stir. Lower the heat and add the corn. Mix thoroughly and simmer for a few more minutes. The soup will thicken as it sits.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ol' Lady who bakes Bundt Cakes

When I was a kid, my parents ordered from Market Day.  Market Day (www.marketday.com)  was a fund raiser that our school did, frozen meats and convenience items.  My parents did it up BIG.  My mom would get all the orders from nurses at the hospital - then submit them to the school. My Dad built a cooler in the garage that he'd setup once a month, so when he picked up the order he had somewhere to keep it cool.  He'd sit in the garage as the ladies all came after work for their orders.  I think my folks raised a lot of money for the school!
These days I no longer participate in Market Day, but I did luck out and find a recipe similar to the "Puddin' Cake" we ordered once upon a time .  They were individually packed chocolate cakes, so rich and moist with chocolate chips baked in.   This bundt cake is amazing.  While the ingredients are so simple and probably you have at hand (so make this now!).
There is also some thing fun about making a bundt cake.  I feel all old lady and special.  Although I do use my space age fancy silicon bundt pan. Maybe one of these days I'll get a real one made of metal from Good Will… complete my "Ol' Lady who bakes Bundt Cakes" persona.
Note: Ok … if you really don't want to bake this cake - but want the cake - Market Day STILL carries them!   Raise some money for a school!  https://www.marketday.com/shopping/products.aspx?sk=0&itemid=7680

Death By Chocolate Bundt Cake
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 package chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Beat eggs, sour cream, water,and oil together in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed. Add cake mix and pudding mix. Beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into Bundt or tube pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. When cool, sift powdered sugar on top of cake.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Beware: Cinnamon Rolls will Invite Company Over

Being an avid baker - you'd think I'd always have buttermilk around.  Nope.  I guess that also comes with doing the majority of my shopping at Aldi.  Aldi doesn't have buttermilk and honestly - I try to do all my shopping in one place -I'm lazy like that.
I read online about powdered buttermilk - how you can keep it in the fridge and it's like magic.  I’m here to say - it IS like magic.  I ran to a local grocery store on lunch one day - they claim to have every nationality of food - and I think they probably do!  I was able to buy SaCo Cultured Buttermilk - it worked great in this recipe for Cinnamon Rolls.
Let's talk about these Cinnamon Rolls - they are amazing.  I made them on Saturday planning to eat them for breakfast Sunday morning - we almost canceled our dinner plan so we could eat them for dinner.  I posted a picture on Facebook and we almost had a houseful of people for breakfast the next morning!  Instead my parents opted to come for breakfast before church.  They were pretty amazing.  While I'm not in agreement that they are a Cinnabon replacement - they were amazing and I will make this recipe again and again.  (Especially since I got a new rolling pin for my birthday.  My other one was lost in our move a year ago.)

Awesome Cinnamon Rolls
for the dough-
 3/4 cup warm water
 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
 1/2 cup granulated sugar
 1 teaspoon salt
 1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (or powdered buttermilk - follow directions on can)
 1 egg
 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
 4 1/2-5 cups all purpose unbleached flour

for the filling-
 1/2 cup softened margarine
 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
 2 tablespoons cornstarch

for the frosting-
 2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
 1/4 cup softened margarine
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Directions:
Making the Dough- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, pour in water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Stir and proof 5 minutes. Once mixture looks bubbly and frothy, pour in remaining sugar and salt. Stir on low for 15-20 seconds. In a small bowl, measure buttermilk, oil and egg. Whisk ingredients together until egg is incorporated to other two ingredients. Pour contents into the water and yeast mixture. Stir another 20 seconds in the mixer. Pour 2 cups of flour into mixer and stir on low until incorporated. Sprinkle flour in by 1/4 cup increments until dough cleans the sides and bottom of the bowl. Dough should be sticky but not sticky enough to stick to your hands when touched. Once it has reached this stage, turn mixer on and knead for 5 minutes. Remove dough from bowl, grease and replace back into same mixing bowl {since it's practically clean anyways.} Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel. Rise 1-2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.

Filling and Cutting Rolls- In a medium size bowl, stir brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch together until combined. Set aside. Punch down dough. Flour a large clean table liberally with flour. Lightly flour dough as well. Roll dough out to be a 20x30 rectangle {or as close to that as possible} while moving dough around to ensure it's not sticking to your work surface. If it's a little short or uneven, feel free to cut off the edges to even it all out. {FYI-I cut off some dough on one side and filled in a spot that needed more dough on the other side to make a more even rectangle.} Spread softened margarine over dough, being sure to go right to the edges leaving a 1-inch strip untouched on one of the longer sides of dough. Dump brown sugar mixture onto the middle of the dough and spread with your hands, creating an even layer over top of the margarine, still leaving that 1-inch strip of dough untouched. If you have any filling that falls off the sides of the dough, use a bench scraper to replace. Lightly press the sugar mixture into the margarine using a rolling pin. Roll the dough up into a tight log, finishing with the plain dough on the bottom to seal the entire thing together. Cut off the uneven ends to even out the log. Score log every 2 inches and then slice your rolls using those marks. Place into parchment paper lined, margarine greased pans. 12 into a 9x13, 3 remaining into a loaf pan, or 8x8 with the small ends. Cover pans with plastic wrap and dish towels. Let rolls rise another 1-2 hours or until they are touching and have risen almost double. My rolls always spread out more than up, so just be aware that they will most likely spread out more than up. Bake in a preheated 350 degree for 17 minutes, or until tops start to brown. Watch them carefully!!

For the Frosting- While the rolls are baking, whip cream cheese and margarine together. Stir in vanilla, corn syrup and lemon juice. Scrape sides and mix again. Pour in powdered sugar and stir slowly until it starts to incorporate. Then mix on high for 5 minutes or until frosting starts to lighten in color. Scrape sides and mix again briefly. Once rolls have been removed from the oven, frost using half the amount made. Then after they have cooled a few more minutes, frost again with remaining frosting. The first frosting will melt down into the rolls and the second layer should stay put. Serve warm.

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